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Frequently Asked Questions – Fastcase

What is Fastcase?

Fastcase is a legal research service that has recently partnered with HeinOnline to offer case law at no additional charge to all HeinOnline core subscribers.  This partnership allows Hein to provide federal and state case law via inline hyperlinks, along with the option to retrieve case law by citation. Using patented software that combines the best of legal research with the best of web search,  Fastcase provides federal and state case law in an HTML format which can be downloaded to a PDF or printed. Fastcase’s search software ranks the best cases first and enables the re-sorting of results to help users streamline their legal research.

What case law is available through Fastcase?

The federal case coverage includes the judicial opinions of the Supreme Court (1745-present), Federal Circuits (1924-present), Board of Tax Appeals (vols. 1-47), Tax Court Memorandum Decisions (vols. 1-59), U. S. Customs Court (vols. 1-70), Board of Immigration Appeals (1996-present), Federal District Courts (1924-present), and Federal Bankruptcy Courts (1 B.R. 1-present).  The state case law covers all fifty states, with nearly half of the states dating back to the 1800s.  Coverage for the remaining states dates back to approximately 1950.

Do I need a subscription to Fastcase to utilize case law linking?

You do not need a separate Fastcase subscription to access Fastcase’s collection of case law via HeinOnline. Case law is integrated into all HeinOnline core subscriptions free of charge. HeinOnline can provide federal and state case law via inline hyperlinks, along with the option to retrieve case law by citation. Fastcase Premium, an upgraded service offering additional features, is available for purchase through HeinOnline. Subscribers with access to both HeinOnline and Fastcase can synchronize their accounts to take advantage of the Fastcase Premium features. Contact our marketing department at marketing@wshein.com for more information about Fastcase Premium.

How do I access case law?

Case law is available through both inline hyperlinks and direct citation retrieval.

Inline Hyperlinks

HeinOnline users are already familiar with hyperlinks, highlighted in blue, that link back and forth between documents in the database. Case law via Fastcase works in exactly the same manner. Here is an example of a page in HeinOnline containing inline hyperlinks to case law:

Clicking this link will bring in the full text of the case from Fastcase:

Direct Citation Retrieval

From the HeinOnline Welcome Page, choose the case law option and type in the proper case citation, and click the search button:

Clicking the Fastcase Lookup link located beneath the search bar will enable users to enter a direct citation or choose from a list of abbreviations:

Will I need to adjust authentications or proxy settings to access case law powered by fastcase?

HeinOnline pulls the case law from Fastcase while keeping you on the HeinOnline server.  Therefore, you will not need to adjust any authentications or proxy settings to view the cases powered by Fastcase.

Why am I linking to a case with a different citation than what was cited in the publication I am viewing?

Cases or judicial opinions can be published by more than one publisher.  When this occurs, the case name may be followed by one or more parallel citations.  The official reporter is provided by the publisher with which the Court has contracted to publish the reports; any other citation is unofficial.  The unofficial version may contain additional editorial features which differ from the official version.  Fastcase relies on the use of official and unofficial publications in order to provide the full text and provides parallel citations where available.

Here is an example of a parallel citation:

What is Bad Law Bot?

FastCase has enhanced its Authority Check feature to show you where courts have noted that a case has been treated negatively (i.e., reversed or overruled on any grounds).   Courts will cite negative histories of cases within their opinions.  "Bad Law Bot" uses algorithms to find negative citation history.  Bad Law Bot then shows  red flags for those cases that have negative citation history and with the upgrade to Fastcase Premium, provides you with the links to those cases.

What is Fastcase Premium?

Fastcase Premium is an enhanced version of Fastcase Basic, which is included free with all HeinOnline Core subscriptions. There are two ways to access the additional features:

1. If you already subscribe to both Fastcase and HeinOnline, you can synchronize your accounts at no additional charge. For instructions on how to synchronize your accounts, click here.

2. Upgrade to Fastcase Premium by contacting your HeinOnline sales representative or our Marketing Department.

What additional features are available with Fastcase/HeinOnline account synchronization or by upgrading to Fastcase Premium?

1. Full text and metadata searching of all case law powered by Fastcase will be available from within the HeinOnline interface. Fastcase will also appear in the list of your institution's subscribed collections.Click Fastcase from the list of libraries, OR click the Search Fastcase link, which is located beneath the search bar, to access the Fastcase advanced search options.

2. Case law will appear in search results when searching all subscribed collections in HeinOnline.

3. HeinOnline's ScholarCheck tool is enhanced. In addition to viewing articles that are cited by current articles or cases, users will now see cases that cite a current case on pages of case law, and cases that cite articles when searching in the HeinOnline Law Journal Library; search results can also be sorted by Number of Times Cited by Cases.

4. The Negative Treatment Indicator, which displays a red flag when a case has received negative treatment (i.e. potentially reversed or overturned) will become a link. The link will display a list of cases that have treated the current case negatively.

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